While I think most of my child's behavior is devastatingly cute (proudly showing off the contents of the toilet bowl during their potty training), I imagine an adult acting the same way and, well, I'm repulsed. Then there are times when my children act in a way that just weirds me out completely (like wanting to plant their baby brother in the ground to grow more babies). I have to remind myself that there are creepy things kids do that just mean they’re curious. After all, they're constantly testing their limits, figuring out what’s possible or, in my case at least, seeing what it will take to completely humiliate me in front of other people who are without a doubt judging me for my kids’ bizarre behavior.
My fears are assuaged when I talk to other parents, though, and hear their horror stories that detail the awkward moments when their kids have pulled some strange stunt. What I’ve noticed, with my kids anyway, is that this behavior isn’t chronic. It’s like, once they see the result of whatever strangeness they’re stirring up, they file that away and move on to the next thing. Live and learn. Well, live, learn and embarrass mom (and not necessarily in that order).
So, if you’re curiously worried as to what could possibly be motivating your kid's creepy behavior, take solace in the fact that it’s likely because they’re just curious. We’ve all dropped breath mints into soda, just to see if it would cause an explosion. You never really grow out of that curiosity, I guess. Luckily, my kids have outgrown these creepy things they've done out of inquisitiveness:
Stick Their Hands Down Your Shirt
This may not be the case for all moms, but for this breastfeeding mama there were way too many little hands groping me. No matter how much I chanted that “Keep your hands to yourself” mantra, trying to instill the value of consent in them at the earliest age, my kids’ way of asking to be nursed when they were about a year old was to get access themselves by lifting my top. Eventually, they would just use their words, and then, by the time they were around two years old, they were totally weaned and I no longer had to worry about having my shirt yanked up at any given moment.
Smell Your Butt
I have sniffed plenty of baby butt in those early days, checking if someone needed to be changed. It gets weird, though, when kids start mimicking that behavior. I think it served as a good reminder that kids are always watching, and waiting for the perfect opportunity to either embarrass their parents or gross them out.
I guess I should be glad my kids are able to focus their attention on something for an extended period of time, but being engrossed in a puppet show is very different than staring at humans going about their business. Of course, the more you say “Don’t stare,” the more they want to stare. Then again, ignoring their behavior feels wrong too. I try to explain that other people might feel uncomfortable by their long stares, since they’re not performing in a show or anything. My kids understand that, but that hasn’t totally stopped them from staring.
Lick Things. All The Things.
Cats. Subway poles. Other kids. The oral fixation lasts much longer than I thought it would. I was not warned that there would be this much slobber from such little mouths.
Hold Their Breath
Just to see what would happen. Just to drive me into a panic. Thankfully, this was a short-lived stage.
Propose Marriage To Their Siblings
It was so sweet to hear my son insist that his older sister marry him one day. How adorable is it to witness your children expressing their love for their family? Actually, not that cute, because sibling marriage proposals are the ickiest things ever. “Oh, she’s already in your family,” I’d tell him. “You marry someone because you want to bring them into your family.” My son is six and I’m not sure I’ve succeeded in having him understand this very important fact.
Pull On Your Tampon String
There is no button, lever, zipper, or string that my kids didn’t want to mess with when they were toddlers. I learned fast not to walk around without underwear during that time of the month. It was just too tempting for them to yank on that white thread they saw dangling between my legs.
Combine Food In Gross Ways
I agree with my children: broccoli tastes a lot better doused in ketchup. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t stop with a single condiment. They added maple syrup, butter, shredded cheese, and some pickled ginger that had expired a year ago. I thought they were expanding the limits of their palates! I thought wrong.
Make Potions Out Of Bath Products
“Don’t touch the container!” my 5-year-old commands. “I made a magic potion and it has to sit there all night for it to work tomorrow.” Strange, but this “magic potion” looks eerily like three kinds of conditioner and body wash mixed with dirty bathwater.
Tell Strangers What You Look Like Naked
Isn’t that the best? If they see mom naked, they must tell everyone how squishy and lumpy she is. I know I can’t show them how much it embarrasses me to have them discuss my body. I need to convey body confidence to set a good example. Still, I would turn bright red, as would the stranger they described my butt to.
Empty A Pile Of Trash Into Your Bag Because It’s Treasure
My kids love to collect things. Some of it I understand. I mean, who doesn't love Pokemon cards, seashells and even a movie ticket stub or two, right? Still, most of what they collect is just garbage. Like, literally garbage. They’re fascinated by discarded gum wrappers, pebbles (boring concrete ones, not even the cool kind you find at the beach), and nasty pigeon feathers. We live in New York City, where everything on the ground is sure to have been splashed by dog pee (or worse). Does that deter tiny fingers, though? Nope. My kids are convinced these magical finds are to be rescued and saved. In my purse.